Kuraj is the powerful and moving story of a young woman's search for her true identity. Born in the late 1930s in the Russian steppe, Naja is the daughter of a clan chieftain of the Tushan nomads, who can trace his ancestry back to Genghis Khan. Fiercely independent, U'lan determines to oppose Stalin's plan to force the Tushan to settle permanently in collective farms by joining the invading German army. At the heart of this extraordinary novel lies the pledge of honour made by Naja's father, U'lan, to the German officer Gunther Berger, with whom he fights for his people's freedom. It is a pledge that will take U'lan and Gunther to the hell of Stalingrad and change Naja's life for ever by bringing her, at the age of nine to ruined postwar Cologne. As the novel opens the only Tushan word Naja can remember is 'Kuraj' (tumbleweed), a talisman for the whole nomadic way of life and the route into the past, but also the route to a future in which she will control her own destiny.
Silvia di Natale was born in Genoa in 1951 and has lived in Germany since 1973, where she lives with her husband and son, and teaches and works as an ethno-sociologist. Kuraj is her first novel.